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Vancouver: Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar

On my recent trip to Vancouver, BC I was not even in town for 24 hours.  Arriving in late afternoon/early evening I did the work I needed to do that day and then around 7:30 or so I was ready to get a bite to eat.  Although one of my favorite things about Vancouver is the plethora of great places to eat – and there is always something new to try – I decided to go back to an old favorite, The Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar.   
I’m not sure how long I’ve been stopping by this place in Yaletown but it’s probably been pretty much since it opened.  I’ve been frequenting Yaletown for years and in the early days, as it was working its way to trendy, there weren’t as many dining options as there are now.  I do remember that on my second or third meal here I discovered it was owned by the same group that also has Araxi in Whistler, another of my favorite places. 
This night I sat at the bar and let the bartenders help me with some of the decision – so much sounds so good on the menu.  I started with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and three oysters on the half shell.  There menu show a large selection of oysters but is actually much smaller on any given day, as they offer only what is best at any particular time.  I was trying to remember which three I chose and I don’t remember but it really doesn’t matter – they were all great!
After the oysters I was craving a salad but, I had never realized this before, they only offer one salad and it didn’t really catch my imagination on this night.  Instead I ordered a vegetable sushi roll filled with cucumber, avocado, asparagus and radish.  It was really light and refreshing.  It was served along with their own ginger, wasabi and soya-seaweed dipping sauce.   
Next I was on the my "entrée" – actually everything came from the appetizer menu.  I decided on the Trap Caught Wild Prawns which have a slight heat to them from the chili in the sauce but the fresh flavor of the shrimp can still be tasted.  I also ordered a side of frites as they just sounded great, but ended up eating only 1 or 2, as I was really too full to enjoy them.   And to be honest they didn’t seem to be that good, which was surprising. 
I finished up with a cup of tea and then made my way to the hotel to watch that evening’s fireworks show from the balcony of my hotel room. 
One small word of warning.  The Blue Water, like Araxi, is on the upscale side of establishments.  With the US-Canadian exchange rate now being almost even and prices in Canada generally higher than the US you may want to watch what you order or just stop in for a drink and an appetizer.  A meal for two, before tip, can easliy approach $200. 
Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
1095 Hamilton St. (@Helmecken in Yaletown)
  1. Jamie permalink
    12-Aug-2007 4:26 pm

    Vancouver is a great destination for food, especially if you dig Asian like me.  Watch out though!  Last time I went up with six friends, our minivan was broken into and ALL of our stuff taken (we were in a Chinatown parking garage).  We retrieved some documents and passports later but it was a disaster.  A small price to pay for pigging out on the best Korean BBQ I\’ve ever had though! 

  2. Culinary permalink
    13-Aug-2007 8:29 pm

    Hi Jamie!
    Very sorry about your experience there.  I think you just hit a bad piece of luck.  I\’ve been to Vancouver too many times to count and the only issue I\’ve ever had is sometimes getting caught in border traffic!   Glad to see you have a sense of humor about it all!
    ~ B 

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